As a development of the company's single-engined designs, Grumman American developed a twin-engined version, designated the GA-7 which it named the Cougar, in keeping with the existing Lynx, Cheetah and Tiger names for aircraft in the company's line. The prototype Cougar with two 160 hp (119 kW) Lycoming O-320 engines first flew on the 29 December 1974. The prototype had a sliding canopy but this was soon changed to a starboard side door on the production aircraft. With other rework required the production prototype did not fly until 14 January 1977.
Before production started the company was taken over on 1 September 1978 by American Jet Industries, who changed the company name to Gulfstream American. Production of the Cougar ran for only two model years, 1978 and 1979, before production was halted. Just 115 Cougars were delivered.
In 1995 the type certificate for the GA-7 was sold to SOCATA of France who intended to produce the aircraft as the TB 320 Tangara for the training market. It was also to develop a variant with two Lycoming O-360-A1G6 engines of 180 hp (134 kW) each and a re-designed cockpit, it was designated the TB 360. The first Tangara was a modified Cougar, had 160 hp (119 kW) engines and first flew in mid-1996. The complete Tangara prototype was also a converted Cougar and had the 180 hp (134 kW) engines. It first flew in February 1997. After delays in getting the type certified SOCATA announced at the end of 1999 that it had delayed indefinitely plans to certify the type.
The Cougar is a twin-engined low-wing cantilever monoplane using a honeycomb and bonded metal construction that is the hallmark of the line since the BD-1. The prototype's single spar wing was upgraded to a double-spar configuration and this allowed a wet wing.
The Cougar is powered by a pair of wing-mounted Lycoming O-320-D1D engines of 160 hp (119 kW). It carries four people at maximum cruise speed of 160 kn (296 km/h) and a typical cruise speed of 140 kn (259 km/h). It was certified under US FAR Part 23 on 22 September 1977.